Here are 40 ways to help humanity in 2020.
Adopt a pet
The Animal League is a no-kill shelter that rescues and rehabilitates abandoned or abused dogs and cats. The organization promotes adoption, and volunteers are needed for adoption events, educational programs, dog walking, cat watching and kennel cleaning.
4648 Baptist Island Road, Groveland
Advocate for kids
The Lake Sumter Children’s Advocacy Center seeks volunteers who will undergo training for its Victim Advocate Program. The center provides support services for physically and sexually abused children, offering a place where victims can be safely interviewed and receive medical exams and crisis counseling.
300 S. Canal St., Leesburg
352.323.8303 / cac4kids.org
Bowl a few frames
LovExtension is a nonprofit organization that provides social and well-being visits to seniors and disabled people in Lake County and The Villages. Volunteers are needed to visit people in their homes and nursing homes, as well as assist with events such as the LovExtension Bowling Extravaganza, held annually each April.
819 W. Main St., Tavares / 352.669.1121
Build a house
At Habitat for Humanity Lake-Sumter, volunteers assist at construction sites to create affordable housing for people living in substandard conditions, or they can help out in one of Habitat’s four thrift stores.
906 Avenida Central, The Villages
352.483.0434 / habitatls.org
Keep Lake Beautiful encourages public participation to maintain a cleaner Lake County during numerous events throughout the year: community and waterway cleanups, roadside litter pickups, neighborhood and school beautification events, and tree plantings.
12923 County Landfill Road, Tavares
Through Cornerstone Hospice and Palliative Care, volunteers participate in a variety of programs, including Hospice House, supporting veterans and planning the organization’s many fundraisers.
2445 Lane Park, Tavares / 866.742.6655
Delegate your dog
Through Caring Canines Therapy Dogs, dog owners take their dogs to nursing homes, assisted living facilities, schools, libraries and Camp Boggy Creek for therapeutic reasons, lifting the spirits of both adults and children. All dogs must be 1 year old or older, up-to-date on vaccinations and complete a certification process.
352.406.3399 / cctd.org
Dream a little dream
Community Foundation of South Lake connects people to causes. The foundation accepts charitable donations to support programs such as the DREAM Initiative scholarships for low-income, at-risk youths; providing supplies to cities that have been devastated by natural disasters; and Sleep in Heavenly Peace, which provides beds to children.
2150 Oakley Seaver Dr., Clermont
352.394.3818 / cfslc.org
Earn your wings
Volunteer pilots and co-pilots fly medical missions using their own planes for Angel Flight Southeast, which coordinates free air transportation for children and adults with medical or compelling humanitarian needs.
8864 Airport Blvd., Leesburg / 352.326.0761 / angelflightse.org
Food pantries and soup kitchens provide assistance to residents of Lake and Sumter counties, and volunteers are needed to help track inventory and distribute food. They include:
Faith Neighborhood Center, 14727 Timber Village Road, Groveland
352.429.1200 / faithneighborhoodcenter.com
Lake Cares Food Pantry, 2001 W. Old U.S. Highway 441, Suite #1, Mount Dora
352.383.0100 / lakecares.org
Leesburg Food Bank, 503 N. 13th St., Leesburg
Wildwood Soup Kitchen, 203 Barwick St., Wildwood
352.748.1008 / wildwoodsoupkitchen.org
Forward Paths Foundation can use mentors and tutors for youths who are aging out of foster care or are homeless and unaccompanied. The foundation’s goal is to ensure that these teenagers and young adults are safely housed so they can continue their education and work on job skills.
Morrison United Methodist Church,
1005 W. Main St., Room 102, Leesburg
352.435.4524 / forwardpaths.org
Christian Care Center, a ministry of First Baptist Church of Leesburg, needs volunteers to help the men’s residence, women’s care center, emergency children’s shelter, family shelter, community medical care center, benevolence ministry, pregnancy care center and thrift store.
115 N. 13th St., Leesburg
Give till you bleed
Blood donors are always needed, and each whole blood donation has the potential to save up to three lives. OneBlood has four donor centers in Lake County:
1000 Waterman Way, Tavares, 352.742.7020
1200 Oakley Seaver Drive, Suite 106, Clermont, 352.241.7543
170 E. North Blvd., Leesburg, 352.728.1223
1550 Bella Cruz Dr., The Villages, 352.750.4088
Go for the green
In November 2020, the LRMC Foundation will host the 23rd annual Go for the Green Golf Tournament fundraiser at Mission Inn Resort & Club in Howey-in-the-Hills. The foundation is the philanthropic arm of Leesburg Regional Medical Center, and volunteers help with special events such as golf tournaments, health fairs and 5K races.
701 N. Palmetto St., Suite G, Leesburg / 352.323.5060
Go to the hospital
Yesterday’s “candy stripers” are today’s volunteers at hospitals. The Villages Regional Hospital, for example, has an Auxiliary Foundation with more than 950 volunteers who serve in areas including the gift gallery, information desks, patient representatives, thrift shop, ambulatory surgery unit, clergy office, emergency room, nursing units, waiting rooms and keeping vigil with patients in the No One Dies Alone program.
1451 El Camino Real / 352.751.8176 / thevillagesregionalhospital.org
Guide a child
Boys & Girls Clubs of Lake and Sumter Counties is always looking for coaches, tutors and assistants in its learning center and specialty programs for children ages 5-18. The club focuses on character/leadership development; the arts; sports/fitness/recreation; health/life skills; and education/career development.
Help someone special
Special Olympics Florida provides year-round sports training and competition to more than 23,000 children and adults with intellectual disabilities at no cost to the athlete or their caregiver. In Lake County, coaches, mentors and management team members are needed, and no sports experience is necessary.
1915 Don Wickham Drive, Clermont
352.243.9536 / specialolympicsflorida.org
Hit the Y
The Golden Triangle YMCA has volunteer opportunities for coaches, mentors, greeters and positive role models age 14 and older. The organization offers a state-of-the-art facility with a pool, group exercise classes, and health and wellness programs for children and adults.
1465 David Walker Drive, Tavares
352.343.1144 / ymcaofcentralflorida.org
Hold your horses
Howey Horse Haven Rescue nurses abused, neglected and unwanted horses and ponies back to health and finds them permanent, loving homes. Volunteers are needed to feed, bathe and groom the animals and help clean stables.
22109 N. Buckhill Road, Howey-in-the-Hills
352.223.8761 / howeyhorsehavenrescue.org
Lead a renaissance
The Education Foundation of Lake County is a direct support organization for Lake County Public Schools. The foundation’s biggest fundraiser is the Lady of the Lakes Renaissance Faire, which allows visitors to step back in time each November and enjoy medieval characters and festival entertainment. About 150 volunteer spots are available for costumed cast members, set construction, staff and more.
2045 Pruitt St., Leesburg / 352.326.1265 edfoundationlake.com
Open someone’s ears
The donation of used hearing aids is extremely beneficial to Deaf & Hearing Services of Lake and Sumter Counties, which provides deaf, hard-of-hearing and speech-impaired individuals with programs and services to enable them to participate fully with family, community and work.
220 S. 9th St., Leesburg
352.323.0757 / deafandhearingservices.org
Rescue a stray
Max’s Pet Connection in Umatilla is a small-breed, no-kill dog rescue organization dedicated to finding dogs a permanent, loving home. Pet foster parents are in high demand because they make it possible for the organization to rescue homeless dogs. Volunteers are also needed to assist at the organization’s adoption events held every Saturday at PetSmart in Lady Lake.
352.669.2855; 352.575.1959; 352.347.7992
Ride a horse
Children with chronic or life-threatening illnesses enjoy the serenity of horse riding and other activities at Camp Boggy Creek, a year-round camp. Volunteers can help guide or participate in the activities.
30500 Brantley Branch Road, Eustis / 352.483.4200 / campboggycreek.org
Ring a bell
The Salvation Army of Lake and Sumter Counties provides food, clothing, shelter, furniture, rental and utility assistance, transportation and activities for seniors in need. During the holiday Red Kettle campaign, volunteers stand in front of stores while ringing bells and asking shoppers for donations.
2605 South St., Leesburg
870 N. Main St., Bushnell
Rise to the occasion
The Arc Sunrise of Central Florida helps more than 120 adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to achieve the highest level of independence. Volunteers who go through a background search and training can work one-on-one with these adults. Volunteers also can help with maintenance projects and assist in organizing events.
35201 Radio Road, Leesburg
Run a race
The Amazing Race for Charity is an annual event modeled after the CBS reality show “Amazing Race.” Funds raised from the event are dispersed to 12 charities in Lake County. The race leads teams of two to various businesses, schools and churches, where they compete in challenges that test their agility and problem-solving skills. Volunteers also are needed to help organize the race, scheduled for April 4, 2020, at Eustis.
Run a relay
The American Cancer Society Relay for Life is an 18-hour fundraiser to fight cancer and create awareness. Teams of participants take turns walking around a track. The 2020 Relay for Life in North Lake County is scheduled for May 21 at:
AdventHealth Waterman, 1000 Waterman Way, Tavares
Save a cat
The Cat Protection Society is a no-kill shelter that houses cats of all ages. The 15,000 square-foot facility features two large, open-air pavilions that allow cats to climb and experience the outdoors 24 hours a day. Volunteers can come to the facility and clean or brush cats, clean litter boxes or just play with the felines.
2700 Getford Road, Eustis
Save a human
Additional physicians, nurses and nurse practitioners are needed for Catholic Charities of Central Florida programs that provide free medical and dental care, health education, and emergency prescription medications to low-income residents of Lake and Sumter. Volunteers are also needed to perform clerical work. Locations include:
Lazarus Free Medical Clinic, 210 Wonders St., Wildwood, 352.748.4567
St. Luke Free Medical and Dental Clinic, 722 S. Grove St., Eustis, 352.602.4640
Save the world
Each April, Mount Dora hosts a large Earth Day celebration that includes music, exhibits, yoga, fashion, workshops and fundraising events that benefit tree planting in the city. The day is organized by Mount Dora Friends of the Environment, which also has grant and sponsorship programs to support tree planting.
Send someone to school
Pig on the Pond Inc. raises money for scholarships and education in South Lake County. The Pig on the Pond Community Festival and BBQ Competition, an annual fundraiser, is scheduled for March 6-8, 2020, at Waterfront Park in Clermont. In addition to making donations, volunteers may assist with parking, drive shuttle buses and oversee entertainment stages.
Show you care
We Care of Lake County welcomes community volunteers who are interested in office and fundraising opportunities. The organization also needs physician volunteers and health-care providers to serve uninsured, low-income patients, and also accepts durable medical equipment donations.
4709 N. Highway 19A, Mount Dora / 352.742.0021 / wecarelakecounty.org
Socialize with pets
The Humane Society of Lake County seeks volunteers to socialize with cats and walk dogs outdoors. This organization is a no-kill animal shelter that provides safe, loving homes for dogs and cats. It operates for the advancement of humane treatment and the prevention of cruelty to animals.
16435 McKinley Road, Umatilla
Steal the show
In The Villages, entertainer Petrina is always looking for talent. Several fundraisers, including an annual talent show featuring comedy, singing and dancing, support her iSparkle anti-bullying program. Through the program, college scholarship funds are awarded to high school candidates who help create atmospheres of inclusion for their peers.
Take it off
During the Bras for the Cause and Boxers, Too! show on March 28, 2020, at the Clermont Performing Arts Center, participants will model whimsically themed bras and boxers and then auction them off to support the Greater Clermont Cancer Foundation. The foundation, which is run exclusively by volunteers, helps people cope with the emotional and financial aspects of dealing with cancer.
352.435.3202 / gccf.us
Teach a teen
Thrive Clermont is dedicated to the mental, physical and emotional wellness of teens ages 13-17 in South Lake County. Volunteers are needed to serve as instructors for programs or to sponsor teenagers through a scholarship fund. The first annual Winter Festival on Dec. 8 also will support the organization’s programs.
Unite for a cause
The mission of United Way of Lake & Sumter Counties is to improve the quality of life for individuals by leveraging resources, uniting agencies and impacting community needs. Businesses can create workplace giving campaigns, and volunteers can receive tax preparation training to provide tax services, assist with special events or join AmeriCorps VISTA or Women United.
32644 Blossom Lane, Leesburg
Venture into a forest
Sozo Kids offers various programs for children and families who live in poverty in the Ocala National Forest. In addition to donating food, people also can sponsor a child and donate money on a monthly basis, or volunteer at Turning Point Mentor Centers to encourage children and help them with homework; no degrees required.
19186 NE 13th St., Silver Springs
Volunteer for volunteers
Florida’s Hometown USA Program is an educational initiative to teach young people the importance of volunteering with a focus on assisting children and older citizens. Volunteers can participate in the organization’s community service events held throughout the year, including the Christmas food drive, infant clothes drive and adopt-a-grandparent events held at nursing homes.
Walk a dog
A Forever Home Animal Rescue needs volunteers to walk and play with dogs, as well as do kennel work. The organization provides homeless dogs a place to be loved, cared for and trained. The rescue also allows families to adopt dogs or provide foster care for dogs.
2950 County Road 561, Tavares
407.221.1855 / aforeverhomeanimalrescue.org